ORLANDO, Fla. -- It was especially important for the Nationals to get Tuesday's game in under cloudy skies, particularly so left-hander Ross Detwiler could see his first game action of the spring.
Detwiler could have thrown a side session in the cage or back in Viera had Tuesday's game against the Braves been rained out, but with a roster spot on Team USA in the upcoming World Baseball Classic, the Nats want him to see competition before he departs on March 4.
Detwiler is scheduled to throw again for the Nats on March 3 and then likely debut for Team USA on March 9 in pool play against Italy in Phoenix.
"Any time if you try to set a schedule in stone they're gonna mess with it," Detwiler joked. "You can't ever have the mentality that it's gonna get canceled. You've got to be ready for whatever time they tell you the game's gonna start. If you ever have in the back of your mind it might get canceled, you kind of let down a little bit and might not have as good of stuff."
Detwiler tossed 2 2/3 innings against the Braves, surrendering two runs on five hits while striking out two. He did not walk a batter, and was pleased with the outing, considering the lineup Atlanta brought out on Tuesday that included Jason Heyward, Justin Upton, Freddie Freeman, B.J. Upton and Dan Uggla.
"You saw the lineup they put out there today," Detwiler said. "I could have been embarrassed pretty easily. I think this helped me out a lot, seeing a lot of their top guys. It makes you really focus on keeping the ball down, because any one of them can hit the ball a mile."
Detwiler said he threw eight of his 14 first pitches for strikes, something he focused on heading into the outing.
"I really wanted to focus on first-pitch strikes and throwing a little offspeed," Detwiler said. "I think I threw about eight offspeed pitches, not sure how many for strikes, but some of them felt pretty good coming out."